Iron Awareness Week 2023

Iron Awareness Week 2023

Bioavailability of dietary iron varies among different foods, but this difference has not always been accounted for in dietary studies. Based on our DELTA Model® 2.1, a nutrient gap arises for iron in 2040 if current food production is retained, motivating the importance of addressing iron shortfalls in our diet, especially in populations with higher requirements.

Dietary Iron and its Bioavailability

The bioavailability of iron refers to the proportion of iron within a food or supplement that can be absorbed by body cells. In a previous Thought for Food, we explained how different iron compounds, such as haem and non-haem iron, can have different bioavailabilities.

Different dietary patterns can have a significant impact on iron absorption and consequently reduce iron levels. For example, in a combined diet of meat and vegetables, the presence of meat/fish/poultry, which are good sources of highly bioavailable iron, counteracts poor absorption of non-haem iron from vegetables. Conversely, absence of highly bioavailable iron and presence of iron absorption inhibitors from restrictive plant-based diets leads to poorer iron intake to compensate for monthly iron losses. When iron deficiency is severe, it can manifest as iron deficiency anaemia (IDA), a condition most prevalent among women of reproductive age. 

A comprehensive study suggests that iron deficiency is common among vegetarian females, based on levels of iron stores in the body, across both developed and developing countries, while results for vegans were more inconsistent. A common way of assessing iron status is by measuring the ferritin compounds present in blood serum (known as serum ferritin (SF)). Sometimes SF levels may be raised due to an infection or disease, providing a false indication of iron levels. Therefore, using more than one method to assess iron status is important.

To improve estimations of iron adequacy from different dietary patterns, it is important to consider diet-specific calculations. Since iron bioavailability is different in animal-sourced and plant-sourced foods, applying the same iron absorption measurements from omnivorous diets to vegan and vegetarian diets leads to an overestimation of iron bioavailability from plant-based diets. A recent study demonstrated the importance of considering absorption enhancers and inhibitors when calculating uptake of iron in meals. They showed that estimated iron absorption was lower when the effect of enhancers and inhibitors were applied to the calculations.  This is particularly important as the levels of enhancers and inhibitors differ among omnivorous and plant-based diets.

To overcome the insufficient dietary iron supply, two strategies are predominantly being undertaken: fortification and supplementation. In the following paragraphs the benefits and limitations of each of these strategies will be discussed.

Iron Fortification Measures

Fortification is the practice of adding one or more nutrients to foodstuffs in order to correct or prevent nutrient deficiencies. Fortification programs have helped overcome many nationwide micronutrient deficiencies over the years. Iron fortification strategies have played an important role in addressing deficiencies and reducing IDA in many countries around the world. Iron enrichment of wheat flour is now mandatory in 81 countries around the globe (in 2020) including low- and middle-income countries.

One of the important factors that impacts the effectiveness of iron fortification is the type of iron compound used. There are several iron compounds that could be used for food fortification, among which only a few are considered suitable to be added to foodstuffs based on their bioavailability, cost and interaction with the fortification vehicle. In other words, the ideal iron compounds for fortification are those that cause no changes in taste, colour or texture to the original food item while presenting adequate bioavailability at minimum cost. Ferrous sulphate, ferrous fumarate and ferrous gluconate are among the few iron compounds that are commonly used for fortification.

The relative absorption of iron depends on the ability of the iron compound to dissolve in the stomach. Water-soluble iron compounds such as ferrous sulphate are generally more bioavailable than water-insoluble iron compounds. However, water-soluble iron leads to more adverse changes in the taste of the fortified food, potentially putting off consumers. Ferrous sulphate for example is known for causing colour changes and giving an undesirable metallic taste, especially in liquid foods. On the contrary, ferrous fumarate, a water-insoluble compound, has less of an impact on taste. Although poorly dissolvable in water, ferrous fumarate becomes highly dissolved in the stomach and hence provides an iron bioavailability as high as ferrous sulphate.

Fortification can also play a key role in facilitating the transition towards more environmentally friendly foods while maintaining nutrient adequacy. In a recent study published in Nutrients, various scenarios were simulated to investigate the potential of fortifying plant-based alternatives and commonly consumed foods with essential nutrients to facilitate a shift towards more plant-based diets. Their results showed that fortification of foods with critical micronutrients, iron being one of them, allows for smaller dietary shifts from current diets when optimised for greenhouse gas emissions and nutrient adequacy, hence a higher probability of the optimised diet being adopted by consumers. In another study recently published in the European Journal of Nutrition, the role of fortification with zinc and iron in developing dietary shift scenarios was investigated. The study demonstrated that when plant-based alternatives are fortified with these essential nutrients, they become viable selections in optimised diets, which would not have been the case without fortification. As a result, the modelled diets featured a greater reduction in red meat consumption with less significant deviation from the baseline diet.

Despite the immediate and long-term benefits associated with fortified foods, some consumers are still sceptical about including them in their diets. A consumer study commissioned by Food Standards Australia and New Zealand revealed that many consumers perceive fortified products as artificially processed and are reluctant to adopt them in their diets. Promoting awareness about nutrient deficiencies and how fortification may assist in ameliorating them is necessary to ensure the success of any fortification strategy.

Iron supplementation and the associated challenges

Oral iron supplementation in the form of iron tablets or liquid iron may be consumed to increase dietary intake of iron and treat IDA. Ferrous salts or bivalent ions (Fe2+) are the most common form of iron supplementation due to their high solubility and bioavailability, as compared to ferric iron (Fe3+). Examples include ferrous fumarate, ferrous sulphate, ferrous gluconate, and ferrous bisglycinate. Oral supplementation is however complicated by challenges associated with dosage and dosing frequency, as well as variations in the preparations of iron salts.

Iron levels in the body are regulated by hepcidin, a liver-derived hormone. Hepcidin concentrations increase when the body has enough iron. This prevents further iron absorption. When the body is iron deficient, hepcidin concentrations are reduced, and more iron is absorbed into the blood.

Iron absorption through the cells in the human gut. Image from Lo et al. (2022).

Hepcidin follows a circadian rhythm and concentrations generally increase over the day. This suggests that an iron dose provided in the morning may provide the best efficacy. Conclusions from trials conducted on women with iron deficiency found that twice-daily dosing should be avoided, because the persistent elevation of hepcidin for 24 hours after the first dose reduces further absorption of iron. This usually subsides after 48 hours, so doses ≥60mg should be consumed 48 hours apart to maximise fractional iron absorption. Such a dosing strategy may also reduce gut discomfort associated with iron supplements. This is crucial to improve use among individuals with IDA. However, such a dosing strategy may reduce the rate of total iron absorption in red blood cells and attain iron repletion, as dosage is halved per unit time. Iron fortification may be a more practical strategy to increase dietary iron intake and prevent iron deficiency among women, especially in lower-income countries where cost is a major challenge to iron supplementation.

Take home message

Iron deficiency is a common nutritional problem around the world, especially among women of reproductive age and pregnant women in the third trimester. Iron bioavailability from diets high in plant foods need to be examined to determine true iron adequacy. The value of fortified diets as future resolutions to narrow the nutritional gap between iron deficiency and repletion should also be examined.


This Thought for Food was written by Patricia Soh and Dr Mahya Tavan, with the support of the SNi team.

Photo by Bit245 from Canva Pro.



Professor Warren McNabb
Warren McNabb is a Professor of Nutritional Science at the Riddet Institute; one of New Zealand’s Centres of Research Excellence (CoRE), hosted by Massey University. He leads SNi® and his research interests include digestive physiology and metabolism, nutrition for health, and sustainable nutrition.
Project Leader | W.McNabb@massey.ac.nz
Professor Warren McNabb
Warren McNabb is a Professor of Nutritional Science at the Riddet Institute; one of New Zealand’s Centres of Research Excellence (CoRE), hosted by Massey University. He leads SNi® and his research interests include digestive physiology and metabolism, nutrition for health, and sustainable nutrition.
Project Leader | W.McNabb@massey.ac.nz
Dr Nick Smith
Nick works as a mathematical modeller on the Riddet Institute SNi®. He is responsible for a wide range of SNi's work and the continued development of the SNi models like the DELTA Model®. This is a tool for investigating how global food production meets global nutritional requirements as part of a sustainable food system.
Research Officer
Dr Nick Smith
Nick works as a mathematical modeller on the Riddet Institute SNi®. He is responsible for a wide range of SNi's work and the continued development of the SNi models like the DELTA Model®. This is a tool for investigating how global food production meets global nutritional requirements as part of a sustainable food system.
Research Officer
Dr Andrew Fletcher
Andrew is a Chemical Engineer with a PhD in process control and modelling. Andrew is a Honorary Fellow at the Riddet Institute and has been involved with SNi® since the outset. He is based at the Fonterra Research and Development Centre in Palmerston North and is involved in a range of research, management and strategy roles.
Honorary Fellow
Dr Andrew Fletcher
Andrew is a Chemical Engineer with a PhD in process control and modelling. Andrew is a Honorary Fellow at the Riddet Institute and has been involved with SNi® since the outset. He is based at the Fonterra Research and Development Centre in Palmerston North and is involved in a range of research, management and strategy roles.
Honorary Fellow
Professor Jeremy Hill
Professor Jeremy Hill has played a major role in developing SNi®. He has also been involved in developing strategic partnerships between Fonterra and the Riddet Institute. For example, the establishment of three Professorial Chairs in Food Material Science, Nutrition, and Consumer and Sensory Science. Jeremy is the Chief Science and Technology Officer at Fonterra.
Adjunct Professor
Professor Jeremy Hill
Professor Jeremy Hill has played a major role in developing SNi®. He has also been involved in developing strategic partnerships between Fonterra and the Riddet Institute. For example, the establishment of three Professorial Chairs in Food Material Science, Nutrition, and Consumer and Sensory Science. Jeremy is the Chief Science and Technology Officer at Fonterra.
Adjunct Professor
Dr Mahya Tavan
Mahya is a postdoctoral research fellow working on the development of the iOTA model. iOTA is a dietary optimisation tool for designing sustainable diets that are nutritious, acceptable and affordable. Prior to joining SNi®, Mahya held a research role at the University of Melbourne, Australia where she carried out various research projects on sustainable food production, resource use efficiency and biofortification of fresh food.
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Dr Mahya Tavan
Mahya is a postdoctoral research fellow working on the development of the iOTA model. iOTA is a dietary optimisation tool for designing sustainable diets that are nutritious, acceptable and affordable. Prior to joining SNi®, Mahya held a research role at the University of Melbourne, Australia where she carried out various research projects on sustainable food production, resource use efficiency and biofortification of fresh food.
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Raquel Lozano
Raquel is a postdoctoral research fellow creating models for national food systems. Her PhD research focused on helping design horticultural packaging systems to minimise the environmental impact. Raquel was awarded the International Society of Horticultural Sciences Young Minds Award in 2023, and is keen to use mathematical modelling to provide holistic information to decision-makers in the area of sustainable nutrition.
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Raquel Lozano
Raquel is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow creating models for national food systems. Her PhD research focused on helping design horticultural packaging systems to minimise the environmental impact. Raquel was awarded the International Society of Horticultural Sciences Young Minds Award in 2023, and is keen to use mathematical modelling to provide holistic information to decision-makers in the area of sustainable nutrition.
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Patricia Soh
Prior to her current PhD, Patricia attained a Master of Science in Human Nutrition at Massey University, Albany. The current focus of her PhD is investigating nutritional concerns within vegan diets.
PhD Student
Patricia Soh
Prior to her current PhD, Patricia attained a Master of Science in Human Nutrition at Massey University, Albany. The current focus of her PhD is investigating nutritional concerns within vegan diets.
PhD Student
Ejovi Abafe
Prior to his current PhD, Ejovi obtained a Master’s and a Bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of South Africa (UNISA) and Delta State University, Nigeria. The current focus of his PhD at the Riddet Institute is Global land use for the delivery of nutrition.
PhD Student
Ejovi Abafe
Prior to his current PhD, Ejovi obtained a Master’s and a Bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of South Africa (UNISA) and Delta State University, Nigeria. The current focus of his PhD at the Riddet Institute is Global land use for the delivery of nutrition.
PhD Student
Justine Coomson
Prior to her current PhD, Justine obtained a Masters degree in Population, Family and Reproductive Health and a Bachelor's degree in Dietetics from the University of Ghana. Justine has worked as a research assistant and a clinical dietician in Ghana before coming to New Zealand. The current focus on her PhD is the impact of biofortification and supplementation to diets.
PhD Student
Justine Coomson
Prior to her current PhD, Justine obtained a Masters degree in Population, Family and Reproductive Health and a Bachelor's degree in Dietetics from the University of Ghana. Justine has worked as a research assistant and a clinical dietician in Ghana before coming to New Zealand. The current focus on her PhD is the impact of biofortification and supplementation to diets.
PhD Student
Hannah Ramsay
Hannah is the Project Manager for SNi®. She started her career in the Riddet Institute when she first came to New Zealand and has since done project and event work across various educational institutes. The opportunity to return to Project Management at the Riddet Institute was very welcome, especially given the fascinating research and mahi conducted as part of SNi®.
Project Manager | H.Ramsay@massey.ac.nz
Hannah Ramsay
Hannah is the Project Manager for SNi®. She started her career in the Riddet Institute when she first came to New Zealand and has since done project and event work across various educational institutes. The opportunity to return to Project Management at the Riddet Institute was very welcome, especially given the fascinating research and mahi conducted as part of SNi®.
Project Manager | H.Ramsay@massey.ac.nz
Amelia Barker
Amelia is a Communications Officer at the Riddet Institute. She has many years experience in digital media communications at various organisations. Amelia is passionate about research and enjoys promoting the fantastic mahi (work) that SNi® does.
Communications Officer
Amelia Barker
Amelia is a Communications Officer at the Riddet Institute. She has many years experience in digital media communications at various organisations. Amelia is passionate about research and enjoys promoting the fantastic mahi (work) that SNi® does.
Communications Officer
Rangimarie Hunia
Rangimarie Hunia was appointed an alternate director of Te Ohu Kaimoana at the beginning of 2015 before being appointed a full director in November 2015, and Chair in July 2019. The first wahine (woman) Chair in the history of Te Ohu Kaimoana. In 2017, she was appointed a Chair of Te Pūtea Whakatupu Trust. In 2016, she was appointed Chief Executive of Ngāti Whātua Ōrakei Whai Maia. Whai Maia is responsible for the well-being of its 5,000 tribal members and focuses on education, health, employment and environmental areas. She played an active role as a member of the Iwi Working Group that was established to facilitate understanding and iwi decision making in response to the 11-year Review of Māori Fisheries Settlement entities. Rangimarie is also a member of Global Women and was a finalist in the Westpac Women of Influence Awards 2014.
Ngāti Whātua Chair of the SNi® International Advisory Group Chief Executive of Ngāti Whātua Ōrakei Whai Maia
Rangimarie Hunia
Rangimarie Hunia was appointed an alternate director of Te Ohu Kaimoana at the beginning of 2015 before being appointed a full director in November 2015, and Chair in July 2019. The first wahine (woman) Chair in the history of Te Ohu Kaimoana. In 2017, she was appointed a Chair of Te Pūtea Whakatupu Trust. In 2016, she was appointed Chief Executive of Ngāti Whātua Ōrakei Whai Maia. Whai Maia is responsible for the well-being of its 5,000 tribal members and focuses on education, health, employment and environmental areas. She played an active role as a member of the Iwi Working Group that was established to facilitate understanding and iwi decision making in response to the 11-year Review of Māori Fisheries Settlement entities. Rangimarie is also a member of Global Women and was a finalist in the Westpac Women of Influence Awards 2014.
Ngāti Whātua Chair of SNi® International Advisory Group Chief Executive of Ngāti Whātua Ōrakei Whai Maia
Jeroen Dijkman
Dr. Jeroen Dijkman is the founding head of the Nestlé Institute of Agricultural Sciences at Nestlé Research. The Institute aims to translate novel agricultural science into concrete applications and to identify and develop the most promising regenerative agriculture technologies. Headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland, the organization has a decentralized structure and incorporates Nestlé’s existing plant sciences research facilities in France, as well as numerous research and reference farms around the world. The Institute has three focus areas: plant sciences, dairy-livestock sciences and agricultural system sciences. Jeroen has worked for over 30 years, in all major regions of the world, with bi- and multi-lateral donors, i-NGOs, international and national research centres, the World Bank, UN agencies and the private sector on finding ways to use research and innovation to transition agri-food systems towards more productive but also more sustainable and socially inclusive pathways. In his last two assignments prior to taking up his current position, Jeroen combined the roles of Director (International) of the New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre and the Senior Technical Adviser of the UN Environment, Climate and Clean Air Coalition agriculture initiative. Subsequently, he was the Managing Director of the Animal Sciences Group, Wageningen University and Research. The Animal Sciences Group consists of the Department of Animal Sciences of Wageningen University and three Wageningen Research institutes: Wageningen Bio-veterinary Research, Wageningen Livestock Research and Wageningen Marine Research.
Head of Nestlé Institute of Agricultural Sciences
Jeroen Dijkman
Dr. Jeroen Dijkman is the founding head of the Nestlé Institute of Agricultural Sciences at Nestlé Research. The Institute aims to translate novel agricultural science into concrete applications and to identify and develop the most promising regenerative agriculture technologies. Headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland, the organization has a decentralized structure and incorporates Nestlé’s existing plant sciences research facilities in France, as well as numerous research and reference farms around the world. The Institute has three focus areas: plant sciences, dairy-livestock sciences and agricultural system sciences. Jeroen has worked for over 30 years, in all major regions of the world, with bi- and multi-lateral donors, i-NGOs, international and national research centres, the World Bank, UN agencies and the private sector on finding ways to use research and innovation to transition agri-food systems towards more productive but also more sustainable and socially inclusive pathways. In his last two assignments prior to taking up his current position, Jeroen combined the roles of Director (International) of the New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre and the Senior Technical Adviser of the UN Environment, Climate and Clean Air Coalition agriculture initiative. Subsequently, he was the Managing Director of the Animal Sciences Group, Wageningen University and Research. The Animal Sciences Group consists of the Department of Animal Sciences of Wageningen University and three Wageningen Research institutes: Wageningen Bio-veterinary Research, Wageningen Livestock Research and Wageningen Marine Research.
Head of Nestlé Institute of Agricultural Sciences
Berry Marttin
Berry Marttin was born and raised in Brazil. Over the course of his career at Rabobank, he has gained extensive experience as an international banker in both wholesale and retail banking, working in various senior executive positions in Australia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Curacao and Brazil. Mr Marttin moved to the Netherlands in 2004 to become Chairman of the Board of Directors of Rabobank Amsterdam. In 2009, he joined the Managing Board with special focus on Rabobank’s international Wholesale and Rural banking activities and further responsibilities including Leasing (DLL), Rabo Carbon Bank and RaboResearch. His principal other activities outside Rabobank include serving as President of the EACB (European Association of Co-operative Banks) and Member of the Board of Neumann Foundation. Moreover, Mr Marttin serves as the first Chairman of the Global Steering Committee of the Food Action Alliance, where World Economic Forum together with IFAD, WBCSD, CIAT, AfDB and Rabobank and over 20 global leaders unite to deploy large scale action through game changing initiatives for food systems transformation. In 2021, he was invited to join the UN Food Systems Summit Champions network, a network encompassing leadership from a broad range of constituencies, in all parts of the world, who are championing food systems and food systems transformation.
Member of the Managing Board Rabobank Group
Berry Marttin
Berry Marttin was born and raised in Brazil. Over the course of his career at Rabobank, he has gained extensive experience as an international banker in both wholesale and retail banking, working in various senior executive positions in Australia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Curacao and Brazil. Mr Marttin moved to the Netherlands in 2004 to become Chairman of the Board of Directors of Rabobank Amsterdam. In 2009, he joined the Managing Board with special focus on Rabobank’s international Wholesale and Rural banking activities and further responsibilities including Leasing (DLL), Rabo Carbon Bank and RaboResearch. His principal other activities outside Rabobank include serving as President of the EACB (European Association of Co-operative Banks) and Member of the Board of Neumann Foundation. Moreover, Mr Marttin serves as the first Chairman of the Global Steering Committee of the Food Action Alliance, where World Economic Forum together with IFAD, WBCSD, CIAT, AfDB and Rabobank and over 20 global leaders unite to deploy large scale action through game changing initiatives for food systems transformation. In 2021, he was invited to join the UN Food Systems Summit Champions network, a network encompassing leadership from a broad range of constituencies, in all parts of the world, who are championing food systems and food systems transformation.
Member of the Managing Board Rabobank Group
Dr Jason Clay
Jason Clay is the Senior Vice President for Markets and Executive Director of the Markets Institute at WWF, which was created to identify and address emerging global issues, trends, and tools impacting conservation in more timely, cost-effective, and scalable ways. His career has ranged from working on a family farm and for the US Department of Agriculture. He taught at Harvard and Yale and spent more than 35 years with human rights and environmental NGOs. In 1988, Clay founded Rainforest Marketing, set up a trading company within an NGO, helped Indigenous people and local communities access global markets, and launched Ben & Jerry’s Rainforest Crunch, plus more than 200 other products with sales of $100 million. From 1999 to 2003, he co-directed a WWF, the World Bank, UN FAO, and NACA consortium to identify the most significant environmental and social impacts of shrimp aquaculture, as well as practices to reduce them. From 2004 to 2012, he convened multistakeholder roundtables to create performance-based standards for commodities including salmon, soy, sugarcane, cotton, and beef. He developed WWF’s Market Transformation program in 2006 to work on agriculture, aquaculture, livestock, and corporate engagement. Clay continues to lead WWF-US efforts to improve private sector supply chain management and help their producers address the most significant impacts. In 2008, he created the Carbon and Commodities program to address supply chain GHG emissions. He has helped whole sectors improve their sustainability performance (e.g., the Global Salmon Initiative). He is now working with the global leather industry to support a DCF leather fund and is testing support for a 1% environmental performance payments to support the transition costs and incentives to finance what producers need to do to become legal and deforestation and conversion free. He is launching a two-year proof of concept for Codex Planetarius, a set of minimum global standards to reduce the key impacts of food and commodities traded internationally. Clay has authored 18 books and 500 articles, and has given more than 1,500 invited presentations. He studied anthropology and agriculture at Harvard, the London School of Economics, and Cornell (PhD).
Senior Vice President, Markets at World Wildlife Fund (WWF)
Dr Jason Clay
Jason Clay is the Senior Vice President for Markets and Executive Director of the Markets Institute at WWF, which was created to identify and address emerging global issues, trends, and tools impacting conservation in more timely, cost-effective, and scalable ways. His career has ranged from working on a family farm and for the US Department of Agriculture. He taught at Harvard and Yale and spent more than 35 years with human rights and environmental NGOs. In 1988, Clay founded Rainforest Marketing, set up a trading company within an NGO, helped Indigenous people and local communities access global markets, and launched Ben & Jerry’s Rainforest Crunch, plus more than 200 other products with sales of $100 million. From 1999 to 2003, he co-directed a WWF, the World Bank, UN FAO, and NACA consortium to identify the most significant environmental and social impacts of shrimp aquaculture, as well as practices to reduce them. From 2004 to 2012, he convened multistakeholder roundtables to create performance-based standards for commodities including salmon, soy, sugarcane, cotton, and beef. He developed WWF’s Market Transformation program in 2006 to work on agriculture, aquaculture, livestock, and corporate engagement. Clay continues to lead WWF-US efforts to improve private sector supply chain management and help their producers address the most significant impacts. In 2008, he created the Carbon and Commodities program to address supply chain GHG emissions. He has helped whole sectors improve their sustainability performance (e.g., the Global Salmon Initiative). He is now working with the global leather industry to support a DCF leather fund and is testing support for a 1% environmental performance payments to support the transition costs and incentives to finance what producers need to do to become legal and deforestation and conversion free. He is launching a two-year proof of concept for Codex Planetarius, a set of minimum global standards to reduce the key impacts of food and commodities traded internationally. Clay has authored 18 books and 500 articles, and has given more than 1,500 invited presentations. He studied anthropology and agriculture at Harvard, the London School of Economics, and Cornell (PhD).
Senior Vice President, Markets at World Wildlife Fund (WWF)
Professor Manny Noakes
Professor Manny Noakes has a PhD in nutrition as well as having trained as a dietitian in her earlier years. She is more recently a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Prof Noakes is a former Director and Senior Principal Research Scientist, Nutrition and Health at CSIRO, Australia. She currently runs her own nutrition consultancy and is also a non-executive Director for Meat and Livestock Australia. She is considered a key opinion leader and advisor in nutrition and health, has extensive media and public speaking experience. She has over 25 years’ experience in many fields of nutrition and health, and has undertaken numerous clinical dietary intervention trials in weight management, functional foods and cardiovascular health. She has also undertaken research on diet and sustainability and redefined the environmental agenda from a food and health perspective. Prof Noakes has authored more than 200 peer-reviewed publications which have been cited more than 9000 times and has an H index of 52. She was instrumental in the development and release of five editions of the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet, which was launched in 2004 and has been translated into 17 languages and sold over one million copies in Australia. The Total Wellbeing Diet has been further commercialised to a successful online programme. Prof Noakes is the recipient of three CSIRO Medals, is a Distinguished Alumni of Flinders University, holds a research excellence award from the University of Adelaide and is a recipient of the Zonta Club Woman of International Achievement award.
Nutrition Consultant
Professor Manny Noakes
Professor Manny Noakes has a PhD in nutrition as well as having trained as a dietitian in her earlier years. She is more recently a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Prof Noakes is a former Director and Senior Principal Research Scientist, Nutrition and Health at CSIRO, Australia. She currently runs her own nutrition consultancy and is also a non-executive Director for Meat and Livestock Australia. She is considered a key opinion leader and advisor in nutrition and health, has extensive media and public speaking experience. She has over 25 years’ experience in many fields of nutrition and health, and has undertaken numerous clinical dietary intervention trials in weight management, functional foods and cardiovascular health. She has also undertaken research on diet and sustainability and redefined the environmental agenda from a food and health perspective. Prof Noakes has authored more than 200 peer-reviewed publications which have been cited more than 9000 times and has an H index of 52. She was instrumental in the development and release of five editions of the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet, which was launched in 2004 and has been translated into 17 languages and sold over one million copies in Australia. The Total Wellbeing Diet has been further commercialised to a successful online programme. Prof Noakes is the recipient of three CSIRO Medals, is a Distinguished Alumni of Flinders University, holds a research excellence award from the University of Adelaide and is a recipient of the Zonta Club Woman of International Achievement award.
Nutrition Consultant
Lain Jager
Lain Jager is best known for his time with the hugely successful kiwifruit marketer Zespri where he was CEO from 2008 to 2017. During his tenure as CEO, Zespri grew strongly through the impact and recovery from the bacterial vine disease Psa, grower returns doubled, and the share price grew from $1.00 to $8.00. Today, Lain is involved in a range of investment projects in Tourism and Agribusiness, serves as a Director on several Boards, was the Chairman of the Primary Sector Council that produced the Fit for a Better World Report focused on the New Zealand Food and Fibre Sector, and is the Co-Chair of Te Puna Whakaaronui – a Food and Fibre think tank. Lain and his wife Debra live on a lifestyle block in Tauranga, New Zealand.
Chair of the Thought Leaders Group for Te Puna Whakaaronui Food and Fibre Think Tank
Lain Jager
Lain Jager is best known for his time with the hugely successful kiwifruit marketer Zespri where he was CEO from 2008 to 2017. During his tenure as CEO, Zespri grew strongly through the impact and recovery from the bacterial vine disease Psa, grower returns doubled, and the share price grew from $1.00 to $8.00. Today, Lain is involved in a range of investment projects in Tourism and Agribusiness, serves as a Director on several Boards, was the Chairman of the Primary Sector Council that produced the Fit for a Better World Report focused on the New Zealand Food and Fibre Sector, and is the Co-Chair of Te Puna Whakaaronui – a Food and Fibre think tank. Lain and his wife Debra live on a lifestyle block in Tauranga, New Zealand.
Chair of the Thought Leaders Group for Te Puna Whakaaronui Food and Fibre Think Tank
Samuel Thevasagayam
Samuel Thevasagayam is the Director of Livestock and Aquaculture within the Agriculture Development Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where he oversees the implementation of foundation’s strategy in animal health, animal production, animal nutrition, animal systems and livestock off-take markets in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Samuel started his career as a small animal clinician and lecturer at the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka. He then moved to work in academic research, Pharmaceutical R&D (veterinary and human), Business Development and the not-for profit sector, living/working in four continents before joining the Gates Foundation in 2012. Samuel graduated from the faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Sciences of the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka. Gained his PhD in veterinary virology from the University of Hertfordshire for his research on foot-and-mouth disease virus at the Pirbright Institute and holds an MBA from the University of Oxford. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology.
Director of Livestock and Aquaculture within the Agriculture Development Program, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Samuel Thevasagayam
Samuel Thevasagayam is the Director of Livestock and Aquaculture within the Agriculture Development Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where he oversees the implementation of foundation’s strategy in animal health, animal production, animal nutrition, animal systems and livestock off-take markets in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Samuel started his career as a small animal clinician and lecturer at the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka. He then moved to work in academic research, Pharmaceutical R&D (veterinary and human), Business Development and the not-for profit sector, living/working in four continents before joining the Gates Foundation in 2012. Samuel graduated from the faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Sciences of the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka. Gained his PhD in veterinary virology from the University of Hertfordshire for his research on foot-and-mouth disease virus at the Pirbright Institute and holds an MBA from the University of Oxford. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology.
Director of Livestock and Aquaculture within the Agriculture Development Program, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
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